ESPN Milwaukee was asked if they could help participate in #GivingTuesday, a global day that encourages generosity and giving in the midst of the busy holiday season. Given the reach ESPN Milwaukee has over the airwaves, online, and through social media, we knew we could make an impact with our fans. In addition to hashtags and Facebook posts to encourage and influence our fans, our office came up with an idea to raise money among our teammates.

Being a sports marketing company, what else would be more appropriate than using the sports themed items we have around the office to create a competition among some very competitive people? It started with our office door basketball hoop and expanded to a whole four-event office Olympics. Here is how it worked:

To get teammates excited beforehand, we told them it was jeans and tennis shoes day with a $5 donation. We set up four events in the office before the day started. Each contest had a list next to it with name and high score columns, which gave teammates extra juice to compete as each time they competed was a $1 donation. At the end of the day, we took those lists and determined who the overall winner was based on how each teammate finished in each competition and awarded them a small prize. Mainly they wanted the office bragging rights, but the autographed Aaron Rodgers football didn’t hurt either.

Here is a breakdown of the do-it-yourself office Olympics events:

1)             Hoops. All you need is small over-the-door hoop and a ball of any type. We made lines on the carpet with duct tape and wrote the point total in permanent marker on the tape (makes for easy clean up too!). The competitor had one minute, timed by another teammate with a stopwatch, to earn as many points as possible.

2)             Ping-pong toss. Set up three cups on the kitchen table. Fill the cups up with a little water so they do not fall over when thrown. Label each cup with the appropriate points. The teammate has five tosses. Add up the total points.

3)             Rubber Band archery. Find an image on the Internet of a bulls eye. We had four levels-the bulls eye was 20 points, area around that 15 points, larger area 10 points, and hitting the paper was 5 points. Set up a starting line with duct tape to stand behind and have a spotter. The teammate has five rubber bands to try to accumulate the highest score.

4)             Long Jump (the office favorite). Set up a start line with your handy duct tape. The teammate stands on the line and vaults themselves as far as they can from the standing position. Mark where they land with duct tape and initial the tape.

ESPN Milwaukee ended up raising $124 for the Ronald McDonald House and spread the word on generosity on #GivingTuesday. A simple and fun way to focus on giving around the holidays!

Maria Sapienza | Maria is a Marketing Facilitator and Producer at ESPN Milwaukee. ESPN Milwaukee has been in the market for 10 years with an array of sports marketing assets including local and national sports talk programming, Hispanic sports marketing, and events year round that keep fans and partners engaged.

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A new year brings change, new resolutions, new friendships and new opportunities. That statement rings very true for us at Ink to the People and Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin (RMHC).

Giving is in both our natures and is part of our core values. From our beginning, we have partnered with wonderful organizations to help raise funds and make a positive impact in our communities and the world. That is why we are proud to announce the launch of this fundraising campaign with RMHC for the month of January.
We have designed a limited edition t-shirt to benefit RMHC. Knowing the great work the House does for the community, we wanted the design to reflect the spirit and impact of their work.

Additionally, we want to thank our designer Codi Leister for his great work on this project. His hard work and talent, comes through in the design. We hope you love this design as much as we do.

For every purchase of this special t-shirt, we will donate one-third of each sale to Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin.

And since social media is a great way to help spread the word, we encourage you to leverage your network to help promote the campaign. We most certainly will.

It’s a great way to kick off 2015. We hope you purchase a t-shirt to help raise funds for the House and the great programs they offer to ease the burdens of families that stay with them.

Mike Wisniewski | Mike is a marketing manager at Ink to the People, a website that provides users the tools to design and share apparel for fundraising campaigns.




As I reflect on 2014 and look forward to 2015, I would like to note some significant milestones that anyone who is passionate about the Ronald McDonald House and our mission can be proud of:

  • October 2014 marked the Milwaukee Ronald McDonald House’s 30th anniversary of serving families. More than 34,000 families have called our Ronald McDonald House “home” over the past 30 years. Whether a board of director, staff member, volunteer, or past guest family, we each have our part in making this house a “home away from home” for any family who needs us.
  • September marked two very special ribbon-cutting events:  On Tuesday, September 9 we gathered outdoors on a beautiful sunny morning to celebrate the completion of the pedestrian bridge that links our parking deck to the Children’s Hospital parking structure.  Not only are our two organizations linked by the common goal of serving families with significant medical needs, but we are now physically linked together and can provide a safe passage for families, friends and employees of both organizations to cross Watertown Plank Road safely. Tuesday, September 23 marked an even-more significant milestone for us, as we officially opened up our new wing and remodeled House.  Fifteen months of construction, through perhaps the coldest winter any of us have ever experienced, had its share of bumps, but the result was certainly worth it.
  • We opened up the new wing and its 36 guest rooms to families at the end of September. Thanks to many hours of volunteer time and great coordination from the staff, families quickly adjusted to the new wing and new amenities like the game room, computer room, and new fitness center.
  • We are just now completing the last phase of remodeling with the refreshing of our thirteen long-term rooms and twenty- one main House guest rooms. New paint, new furniture and bedding, new electronics, and new wood blinds all have helped to make our older rooms similar in comfort and feel to our new wing. Our goal is that these rooms will all be open and ready for our families by early to mid-January.
  • With our House now larger in size, it is with much excitement that I announce the hire of our new development director Bridget Kesner who will be joining us for her first day in the office, today, January 5. Bridget has extensive experience in all areas of fundraising and will be a huge asset to our existing development team as we focus on our strategic plan and funding our now-larger Ronald McDonald House. Bridget’s prior position was Director of Development at Marquette University and most recently focused her efforts on the Engineering Campaign. Bridget knows our House well as she has been a House volunteer on the Monday evening shift. After going through a serious health issue with her newborn infant daughter twenty-three years ago, Bridget  says, “I understand what our families are going through and the importance of having a place to call home when your real home, and the people you love most are sometimes very far away.” Bridget is a Stephens Point graduate and she and her husband Alan reside in Wauwatosa and have one daughter, Emily. Next time you are at the Ronald McDonald House, stop by and say hello to Bridget.

I wish all of you a wonderful 2015 and look forward to sharing news about the House and our activities in future posts.

Ann Petrie | President/CEO, Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin


The Secret Garden at the Ronald McDonald House is a four-season garden. Our families like to enjoy the garden all year round. Jumping in leaves, playing in snow, or just looking out the windows at the changing beauty brings comfort, renewal and hope.

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Any time I am asked by anyone what the Ronald McDonald House is like, the first thing I say is “home.” RMHC is truly a home to my husband Tyler, our almost 3-year-old son Nathan and myself. While I was still pregnant, we were told to expect to stay at the House for 6 weeks tops after our second little boy was born. Here we are 4 and a half months later and still staying at the House.
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When I first started interning at RMHC, the House was in the middle of a huge renovation project. Now with construction complete, it almost feels symbolic that my internship is coming to an end. I feel immensely lucky to have been helping out during such a critical time for the organization.

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For the past three years, Kohl’s Visual Merchandising Team has partnered with Ronald McDonald House Charities Eastern Wisconsin by volunteering in a dual Holiday Event through Kohl’s Cares, Associates in Action (AiA) Program. The first of these events involves the setup of holiday trim throughout the House in order to create a fun and festive environment to comfort the families who are currently away from their homes for the holidays. This year we had 12 associates from our team who donated a total of 42 hours of their time! In regards to the decorating, our team brought in and placed over 30 wreaths and trees, hung over 100’ of garland, wrapped over 1500’ of lights around the exterior trees and baked 300 chocolate chip cookies! We had a busy day!!!

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After spending weeks at the Ronald McDonald House watching my 3-year-old granddaughter, I have been encouraged to write a blog post. I spend my days caring for Aadie while my daughter and son-in-law spend time at the NICU in Children’s Hospital learning to care for their new daughter with special needs. It has become apparent that they will have a lot of medical gear to haul around when she comes home.

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I have a confession to make. Despite years of working for nonprofits and years managing retail operations for museums and zoos, I have never really been a consistent, reliable donor to any mission-driven organization. I care tremendously about many causes but I’ve never pushed the “give” button on a monthly or yearly basis for anything. In short, I am not, from the point of view of development or institutional advancement, a reliable donor. Now that I’ve acknowledged this inadequacy, I want to share with you, dear readers, what I’ve learned about mission and passion from the many donors whose gifts I record regularly at Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC).
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“Our house is a very, very, very fine house, with two dogs in the yard, life used to be so hard, now everything is easy cause of you…..”

I have loved that Crosby Stills and Nash song for as long as I can remember and tonight as I left the House, I kept thinking about the meaning of that song and how much it resonated with me after a night of volunteering. I had to change the cats to dogs because tonight we had not one, but two therapy dogs in the House! McNugget and Sadie were on hand with their handlers to share some doggie love with our families. (Ok, and with me too!)

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